Recession Meal No. 2: Lentil Salad with Bacon

I confess that in one past post I lamented the fact that our menu contained this recipe, inspiring the title “Summer Blues.” Which goes to show, when you find something cheap and good, it doesn’t mean you can eat it every day, or even every week, ad infinitum. And I can tend to try and do that, especially when something is cheap, easy, and relatively good for you. Love to beat the proverbial dead horse.

But we gave it a rest, and it’s now returned to acceptability. Even goodness. It’s adapted from the April 2004 issue of Everyday Food, and is a great spring and summer light dinner:

Lentil Salad with Bacon (serves 3-4, depending on appetite)

  • 1 cup green or brown lentils, rinsed
  • 4 strips bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp dijon mustard
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • your choice of salad greens, enough for 3-4 people (the original recipe called for frisée, and while I do think that would be a lovely choice, I never have it on hand, and to buy it would somehow negate the inherent money-saving attributes of this meal)

In a medium saucepan, combine lentils and 4 cups water. Bring to a boil; reduce to simmer and cook until lentils are tender but not mushy, about 15-20 minutes. Drain well.

Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain.

Pour off all but about 1 Tbsp of bacon fat from your pan. Add onions and carrots to pan, and cook over medium heat until carrots are tender, about 10 or so minutes. Add the garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 2 more minutes.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, and olive oil, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Using about 1/4-1/3 of the dressing, dress your salad greens in a separate bowl. Add the lentils, onion mixture, and reserved bacon to the remaining dressing in the bowl, and toss to coat. To serve, divide the greens among serving bowls, and top with lentil salad.


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